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Old 01-15-2011, 12:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi guys,

Thank you for helping me out with my (embarassing) super beginner questions last week! I made it out to the mountain today and rode for a few hours. I took another lesson because it's cheaper and I am really dumb in learning this sport for some reason.

Okay, so finally, I was able to ride on my toe edge and able to link a few turns. So this does not happen all the time. And it's not like when i got it once it clicked and I can do it all the time either (diassapointed!!). However, the important thing is I know how it feels when the turn was done. I re-read the thread before I head up but I wasn't able to recall too much other than
Allow the board to go nose down, flat for a bit then dig my shin into my boots, shoulder over toes and trust that the board will turn uphill.


Well, here was the issue. My instructor today told me to look downhill all the time. So since I ride goofy, that means toward my right, so sometimes, when I do this, i'm traversing down the slope to the right at fairly high speed till I run out of room and hit the fence (a string thingy that separates us from the terrain park). did i not dig my shin down enough? I caught a feel heel edge too, I'm not sure why? Maybe i had a mental lapse and just fell. My ass hurt like hell since i fell mostly on my right cheeks, but at least tailbone and wrists are spared.

And suddenly, I remember to lean into the slope (uphill) and this made my turns so much better.

If my toe side turn is successful (without falling and feeling at ease), turning heelside is almost never a problem now.

Well, I hope this is progress, albeit slower. I do want to thank everyone for their help!!
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Old 01-15-2011, 12:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well, don`t be too literal with this "always look downhill" advice. I am sure what your instructor was trying to to do was to get you to not be looking down at your feet (this is something I see my students do too much and I have to constantly nag them) I think a better "command" is to tell the student to "look where you are going" If I understand your description correctly, you were traversing across the hill on your heel edge attempting initiate the toeside turn? If so, there is really nothing you do with regard to looking as you should already be facing in the general direction of your toeside turn. One thing you can do is to point down the hill with your front arm. This will help you develop the habit of positioning your shoulder over the toe edge to help you make a more effective turn initiation.

A little thing that really helps too is to dip the front shoulder down toward your board a little. Think of trying to make your shoulders parallel to the slope as you point down the hill. Doing this keeps you positioned in a weight forward stance at a time when it is too easy to lean back up the hill. In addition, it is more than pushing the shin into the boot. You need to think in terms of driving your knee out and down in front of you toward the snow. If done correctly, you will feel the weight on the ball of your foot. As you drive the knee down, also pull it in toward your rear binding a bit. This adds some rotational force to your board as well as torsional twist.

In any turn, the lower you get by flexing (closing) the ankles and knees to get lower, the more effective these movements are going to be and the more stable you will remain through your turn.
Snowolf, thank you again, sorry, I'm still a bit muddy about my terms. What I meant was:
I've already pointed my board nose down, getting ready to dip my shoulder and push my shin down to initiate a toe side turn. I can get this sort of started but maybe I didn't push down with both toes/shins), i find myself essentially going down the slope diagonally on my toe edge fairly quickly. This is when I momentarily look up the mountain (away from looking down the hill), i find it easier to complete the turn. But my instructor wants me to continue to where I'm going which cause me to continue traversing (not straight across) down the slope instead of completing my turn.

Now that I"m no longer on the slope, I think what happened was I didn't engage my rear foot fast enough. So, i probably was just engaging my front toe edge and side slipping on that edge.
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Old 01-15-2011, 01:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i find myself essentially going down the slope diagonally on my toe edge fairly quickly. This is when I momentarily look up the mountain (away from looking down the hill), i find it easier to complete the turn.
it sounds like you aren't pressing enough to get the board to pull you completely into the turn. Almost like you are balancing on the toe edge making you just go diagonally.
Is your body leaned back while your toes are pushing onto the edge, basically creating a balance beam so to say??

Don't fret though, it sounds like you are progressing and you are feeling and realizing the physics of the board/body movements. A few more times and this will all of a sudden just click and become second nature.
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I took another lesson because it's cheaper and I am really dumb in learning this sport for some reason.
...
Well, I hope this is progress, albeit slower.
Actually it sounds like pretty good progression to me.

I remember what it was like for me the first half of my first season and it was almost exactly like your description: a little frustration sneaking in and a whole bunch of analysing.

I still take weekly lessons and see the never ever and beginner groups going thru exactly what you're going thru. And then hear the same stories over beers later on (pretty social lesson program at my hill).

And from what I've experienced, seen and heard, you're at the hardest, most frustrating part of the learning curve and you're certainly not alone in experiencing it. Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll push over the hump. And THEN, the progress comes fast and furious and you feel like you're getting better every run, every turn!
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Old 01-15-2011, 02:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sounds like to me your counter rotated a little bit and not leaning over enough to get that edge engaged. Simply pushing your shins against the front of your boots isn't going to do much unless you follow through with your entire body.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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it sounds like you aren't pressing enough to get the board to pull you completely into the turn. Almost like you are balancing on the toe edge making you just go diagonally.
Is your body leaned back while your toes are pushing onto the edge, basically creating a balance beam so to say??

Don't fret though, it sounds like you are progressing and you are feeling and realizing the physics of the board/body movements. A few more times and this will all of a sudden just click and become second nature.
I'm not sure if I'm forming a balance beam or not. But not until the last two run that I suddenly remember to lean towards the slope and all of a sudden I'm a lot more stable. I'm waiting for the clicking moment!!

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Actually it sounds like pretty good progression to me.

I remember what it was like for me the first half of my first season and it was almost exactly like your description: a little frustration sneaking in and a whole bunch of analysing.

I still take weekly lessons and see the never ever and beginner groups going thru exactly what you're going thru. And then hear the same stories over beers later on (pretty social lesson program at my hill).

And from what I've experienced, seen and heard, you're at the hardest, most frustrating part of the learning curve and you're certainly not alone in experiencing it. Just keep doing what you're doing and you'll push over the hump. And THEN, the progress comes fast and furious and you feel like you're getting better every run, every turn!
I agree that I'm at the steepest learning curve stage. The 2nd time I was on the slope, I was quite comfortable with heel side so naturally I would fall back to that and do falling leaf. The 3rd time up, I forced myself to try going down toe side edge, and then forced to link turns. This is when I start catching edge and falling alot. As long as my right butt heals (it's really sore and inflamed now), I'll get back out there!!
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Couple of things then......

So it sounds like you are making the transition from your heel edge to your toe edge; going through the fall line and all. This is good. Turn initiation is the hardest part to get. Now you need to just work on turn completion. In addition, set up your shoulders sooner; before your board enters the fall line. As soon as the board enters the fall line, push down on that front toe to quickly steer it back out of the fall line. If the board does not respond quickly enough, increase that torsional twist by pressing harder on the toe of the front foot.

By forcing yourself to keep looking down the mountain, I would wager that you have your upper body twisted just a bit toward your heel edge and this is working against you. Try holding your front arm up just a bit(around waist level) so that you can see your fist in your peripheral vision. This will allow you to visually check your body alignment. Make sure that you have positioned your front shoulder over the toe edge of the board and hold it there.

Just a question:.....is the instructor trying to get you to not turn up the hill and instead come out of the turn and set up for your heel side? The reason I as this is because once a student "gets it" they hold these turning forces too long and forget to "unturn" and they wind up pointed up the hill and spin around switch. It is a very common issue and once they can turn, they forget to come out of their turns early enough.

Definitely apply toe pressure to your rear foot as you come out of the toe side turn. Remember the "one" "two" count for good turn completion. Ideally, your turn shape should resemble the letter C where you cross the fall line at turn completion, then immediately set up for the next turn. Now that is the ideal, but lets work up to that point. For now, lets make your turn shape just a bit more open to resemble the letter S going down the hill. Instead of working hard to bring the board completely across the fall line at turn completion, bring it out of the turn at say a 45 degree traverse across the slope and then initiate the new turn.

These are what we call "open ended turns" and while not text book "correct", they are in reality what most of us do in our riding. Mainly to to maintain our speed. As you know, completing turns slows you down and on the steeps we want to close our turns. On a green bunny slope, doing this can be problematic as it slows us down too much. Going too slow makes snowboard control awkward.

Another advantage to making your first linked turns a bit open, is that when you are diagonal across the slope, it is less dramatic of a change going from one edge to other. If you are across the fall line, you feel more of a sensation of "going to your downhill edge" and this really spooks the new rider. By being more diagonal, you really don`t get this creepy sensation. Try this open ended turn technique next time and see if you can`t improve your linked turns by being a bit more fluid. Once you get this down, simply work on bringing the board more across the fall line as you complete your turns.
I finally kinda understand what you mean by torsion twist, if I understand correctly, this is like the gas/clutch thing where from my toe side traverse, I would relax my front front, but keeping my rear foot toe edge engaged, so it's sorta like twisiting my board in opposite directions? this will help make the nose of my board get back into the fall line, but since my rear foot is still engaged in toe edge, it won't have me fly down?

I am SO GLAD that I don't have to be completely horizontal to the fall line in order to initiate my next turn. You are ABSOLUTELY right that when I'm across the fall line and have to go to the other edge, it's like an "OMG, here it goes" moment.

But please allow me to ask you to clarify this. If I'm doing this open ended turn, when my board is not totally across the fall line, so basically, when I initated my toe side turn, I'm side slipping across the fall line diagonally, correct? If I start relaxing my front foot at this stage and keep my rear foot engaged in my toe edge until the board point straight down, I won't fall, right?

To answer your question:

Just a question:.....is the instructor trying to get you to not turn up the hill and instead come out of the turn and set up for your heel side?

The reason he told me to do this is because when I look up the hill, I sorta stay there and forgot to come back out and i would have a mental lapse and catch the heel edge (I'm not sure why I do that, perhaps because I would be facing up hill, and forget to allow my board to go back to the fall line and try to get the hell out of the toe edge and start to switch edge too soon because I'm so afraid of the toe edge, but not sure)
I think thats exactly what you've described though.

One more thing, as I was reading some old threads, you mentioned this:
Remember that at this stage with basic turns, the board needs to go from one edge to flat before going to the new edge. Allow that board to flatten out before applying pressure to the new edge. In these types of turns, this means the board will pointing down the fall line on a fairly flat base. As long as the board is traveling straight tip to tail, you will not catch an edge and are safe to pressure either edge of the board depending on what direction you wish to go.

Does both feet need to be in neutral position(no toe side or heel side) in order for the board to point straight tip to tail? If not, say that I can still keep my rear foot engaged in an edge, can I still switch edge at this point?

Last edited by fayewolf; 01-16-2011 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Snowolf,
Since this seems to be a fairly common question or instruction method. You should try to make a video of this on "dry dock" to show what you mean and how the board flexes with the pressure. I think this would help explain/show to many of your students and beginners the principle of how the board turns and the actual move moment.
Sounds like it might be a some work to make but since you or someone with similar teaching ability, the point would be made clearly and correctly and help many new/newer riders.

Just a thought
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:46 AM   #9 (permalink)
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yes, because I would bet that even though instructors or friends explain this. They don't understand teh flex or how the edge tip pulls the board around. A visual as we all know is worth a thousand words. Especially if the person never skiied or snowboarded.

again something I thought that would help
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:24 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Okay I had to register, because this thread explains my first ever experience snowboarding to a T. I went for the first time in the Alps yesterday with a lesson in the morning. Heel turns as expected were easy after about 30 mins. But I couldn't get my toe turn to work correctly. I think I was also not coming out of my toe turn quick enough, because I tended to get too close to perpendicular to the fall line, and then I couldn't get back to initiate my heel turn again.

I learned a lot last night about the torsional forces on the board, so I'm going to try to concentrate on initiating the turns with my lead foot and following through with my back foot.

Snowolf you have a way with words. Every time I read one of your posts it is easy for me to picture in my mind exactly what you're trying to say. Thanks a lot! I will let you know how it goes today.
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